The best books for how Stoicism can help you with modern life

Who am I?

Ben Aldridge writes about practical philosophy, comfort zones, mental health, and adventure. His first book How to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build a Strong Resilient Mindset is an exploration of unique ways to leave our comfort zones, face our fears and overcome our anxieties. Heavily influenced by Stoicism, Buddhism, Popular Psychology, and CBT, Ben's challenges encourage us to get uncomfortable and experience the personal growth that we can only gain from pushing ourselves to the limit.


I wrote...

How to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build a Strong, Resilient Mindset

By Ben Aldridge,

Book cover of How to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build a Strong, Resilient Mindset

What is my book about?

After debilitating anxiety and panic attacks began to impact his daily life, Ben Aldridge decided to tackle his mental health issues in a creative way. His journey led him on a year of completing weird and wonderful challenges in the name of self-improvement. By deliberately leaving his comfort zone and enduring difficulties, Ben completely changed his life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Obstacle Is the Way

Ben Aldridge Why did I love this book?

This was the first book that I ever read on Stoicism and it really got me into the philosophy. It’s a great overview of Stoicism in the modern world and shows us how we can turn obstacles into opportunities.

By Ryan Holiday,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Obstacle Is the Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better.

If the competition threatens you, it's time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you…


Book cover of Meditations

Ben Aldridge Why did I love this book?

This is one of the most important books on Stoicism out there. Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor from 161 AD to 180 AD and used Stoic philosophy to help him face many challenges and guide his decisions. It’s a quick read, packed with timeless wisdom.

By Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Meditations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Their icy blasts are refreshing and restorative. They tell you the worst. And having heard the worst, you feel less bad' Blake Morrison

Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. While the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a timeless collection that has been…


Book cover of Enchiridion

Ben Aldridge Why did I love this book?

This book is an essential and compact guide to Stoicism by one of the greatest Stoic philosophers. It’s another quick read but filled with great content.

By George Long, Epictetus,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Enchiridion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although he was born into slavery and endured a permanent physical disability, Epictetus (ca. 50–ca. 130 CE) maintained that all people are free to control their lives and live in harmony with nature. We will always be happy, he argued, if we learn to desire that things should be exactly as they are. After attaining his freedom, Epictetus spent his career teaching philosophy and advising a daily regimen of self-examination. His pupil Arrian later collected and published the master's lecture notes; the Enchiridion, or Manual, is a distillation of Epictetus's teachings and an instruction manual for a tranquil life. Full…


Book cover of Letters from a Stoic

Ben Aldridge Why did I love this book?

Seneca’s letters are extremely practical and give some great solutions to problems that many of us face today. It’s incredible to think how long ago this book was written yet it still remains incredibly accessible to the modern reader.

By Lucius Seneca, Robin Campbell (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Letters from a Stoic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us ... without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry'

For several years of his turbulent life, in which he was dogged by ill health, exile and danger, Seneca was the guiding hand of the Roman Empire. This selection of Seneca's letters shows him upholding the ideals of Stoicism - the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to life's setbacks - while valuing friendship and courage, and criticizing the harsh treatment of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The humanity and wit revealed in…


Book cover of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Ben Aldridge Why did I love this book?

This is a fantastic guide to Stoicism and has many great examples of Stoic philosophy in action. It has lots of useful history that makes it a good general read on the Stoics.

By William B. Irvine,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Guide to the Good Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using…


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Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

Book cover of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

Michael Ruse Author Of Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Teacher (professor) Author Darwin specialist Charles Dickens fanatic

Michael's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Why We Hate asks why a social animal like Homo sapiens shows such hostility to fellow species members. The invasion of the Ukraine by Russia? The antisemitism found on US campuses in the last year? The answer and solution lies in the Darwinian theory of evolution through natural selection.

Being social is biology’s way of ensuring survival and reproduction. With the coming of agriculture 10,000 years ago, new conditions – primarily much-increased population numbers – meant that sociality broke down as we battled for our share of much-reduced resources. But, as cultural change brought about our troubles, so culture offers prospects of a future where our social natures can emerge and thrive again.

Why We Hate: Understanding the Roots of Human Conflict

By Michael Ruse,

What is this book about?

An insightful and probing exploration of the contradiction between humans' enormous capacity for hatred and their evolutionary development as a social species

Why We Hate tackles a pressing issue of both longstanding interest and fresh relevance: why a social species like Homo sapiens should nevertheless be so hateful to itself. We go to war and are prejudiced against our fellow human beings. We discriminate on the basis of nationality, class, race, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. Why are humans at once so social and so hateful to each other? In this book, prominent philosopher Michael Ruse looks at scientific
understandings…


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Interested in life satisfaction, stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius.

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